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Title

Continental erosion and the Cenozoic rise of marine diatoms

AuthorsCermeño, Pedro ; Falkowski, Paul G.; Romero, Oscar E.; Schaller, Morgan F.; Vallina, Sergio M.
KeywordsMarine diatoms
Continental erosion
Silicic acid
Biological pump
Cenozoic era
Issue Date7-Apr-2015
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
CitationProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(14): 4239-4244 (2015)
AbstractMarine diatoms are silica-precipitating microalgae that account for over half of organic carbon burial in marine sediments and thus they play a key role in the global carbon cycle. Their evolutionary expansion during the Cenozoic era (66 Ma to present) has been associated with a superior competitive ability for silicic acid relative to other siliceous plankton such as radiolarians, which evolved by reducing the weight of their silica test. Here we use a mathematical model in which diatoms and radiolarians compete for silicic acid to show that the observed reduction in the weight of radiolarian tests is insufficient to explain the rise of diatoms. Using the lithium isotope record of seawater as a proxy of silicate rock weathering and erosion, we calculate changes in the input flux of silicic acid to the oceans. Our results indicate that the long-term massive erosion of continental silicates was critical to the subsequent success of diatoms in marine ecosystems over the last 40 My and suggest an increase in the strength and efficiency of the oceanic biological pump over this period
Description6 pages, 4 figures, supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1412883112/-/DCSupplemental
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1412883112
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/117689
DOI10.1073/pnas.1412883112
ISSN1091-6490
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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